Exposé Online banner

Steve Roach — This Place to Be
(Timeroom Editions TM38, 2016, CD)

Steve Roach — Invisible
(Timeroom Editions TM32, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-07-21

This Place to Be Cover artInvisible Cover art

This Place to Be is the reissue of one of Roach’s finest long form pieces (that means a single 74 minute track) from 2016 that went out of print quickly after its original release, now made available again for those who prefer their music on a physical medium. Count myself among them. Other than a tiny note under the Timeroom Editions on the back cover (and on the disc itself) stating that this is the 2019 edition, this is exactly the same recording as the original — it hasn’t been remixed or remastered in any way. How do you improve upon something that was perfect from the beginning, anyway? Roach has a number of albums similar to this, a single track that runs 70 minutes or longer, and soothes the soul and spirit over the course of the voyage, preparing the listener for a deeper level of consciousness or ultimately slumber. The only mystery here is precisely how the sounds were made; obviously, modular analog synths, samplers, loops, and other factors figure in, but here there is no percussion at all, just beautiful expanding and retracting layers of cyclical loops upon loops of varying periodicity; the fabric and texture of each varies and slowly evolves over the duration of the piece. Since the only rhythms here are the slow cycles that breathe and release, occasionally adding some coloration or new textures along the way, the best way to listen to this is via total immersion in it, loud enough to hear every detail while one reflects, meditates and allows themselves to be overtaken by it completely.

About a year and a half earlier, in the final days of 2015, Roach undertook a similar long form project titled Invisible, again released in a very limited edition of 300 copies, the first 100 signed and sold only at two concerts in Tuscon in early 2015. Again, the only thing distinguishing this reissue from the original is ‘2019 Edition’ on the disc and back side of the digipak. Constructed in a similar way (layers of synths and loops), it differs from This Place to Be in that it is far more solemn and darker, drifting ever deeper into the introspective abyss. Also here are some deep bass pulses and other sampled sounds (subsonic shifts and curiosities) that recur in a somewhat irregular manner, not as any kind of rhythm, but as aberrations in the ongoing sonic fabric of the piece. The reader may be wordering why these two were reviewed in reverse-chronological order, and the truth is that Invisible begins to do its work where This Place to Be leaves off, taking the listener ever deeper into the subconscious realm. After 144 minutes of listening to these two, back to back in the order prescribed, the listener should be in some place completely new on the other side of the wall of sleep.


Filed under: New releases, 2016 releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Steve Roach

More info
http://steveroach.bandcamp.com/album/this-place-to-be

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tipographica - Tipographica – The Japanese progressive rock scene in the 90s in general has taken a remarkable turn towards a more innovative and unique styling. In the latter half of the 80s, the Japanese focus was on the more...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues